Assessing population vulnerability towards summer energy poverty: Case studies of Madrid and London

Carmen Sanchez-Guevara, Miguel Núñez Peiró, Jonathon Taylor, Anna Mavrogianni, Javier Neila González

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and duration of hot weather and its associated adverse health effects. In dense urban areas, these phenomena will be exacerbated by the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect and indoor overheating. This paper assesses population exposure and vulnerability to high summer temperatures by exploring the geospatial connection between the UHI, housing energy efficiency and overheating risk, and social vulnerability indicators, such as income and the elderly population. Focusing on Madrid and London, two European cities with strong UHIs but contrasting drivers of indoor heat risk, the spatial distribution of selected indicators were analysed by means of Geographical Information Systems, and areas with the highest vulnerability towards summer energy poverty were identified. It was found that while ‘hot and vulnerable’ areas are present in both Madrid and London, there are significant differences in climate, socioeconomic distribution and housing between the two cities. In warmer climates such as Madrid, energy poverty—traditionally defined by wintertime heating—requires its definition to be broadened to include summertime cooling needs; in the context of climate change and urban warming trends, this may soon also be the case in northern cities such as London.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-143
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cooling energy demand
  • Elderly
  • Energy poverty
  • Fuel poverty
  • Heat vulnerability
  • London
  • Low income
  • Madrid
  • Urban heat island

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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